The best EVs under $50,000 are more capable than ever before. But that doesn’t mean that they’re equally suited for the diverse needs of today’s drivers. Whether you’re hauling a family or looking for your next ridesharing car, these are the best EVs under $50k that are available now.
2023 Volkswagen ID.4
To qualify for federal EV incentives, ensure you purchase a Tennessee-built VIN.
Price:$37,495 – $53,995
Range: 208 – 274 miles
Charging Speed: 130 kilowatts (standard) to 170 kilowatts (Pro); Add 200 miles of range in 28 minutes
Tax Credit: The U.S.-built ID.4 qualifies for at least half of the new EV tax credit. Make sure yours is built at the Chattanooga, Tennessee factory! See full details here.
Did You Know? The 2023 VW ID.4 includes three years of free 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America. For those who travel often, this incentive could be worth hundreds of dollars.
The new IONIQ 5 may have stolen the show, but the Kona EV is thousands of dollars cheaper. It’s one of the best EV values well under $50k.
Price: $33,550 – $41,550
Range: 258 miles
Charging Speed: 100 kilowatt max (180 miles added in 47 minutes)
Federal Tax Credit: In August of 2022, the new revisions to the EV tax credit took away this incentive from the Kona EV. See full details here. State incentives may apply.
Did You Know? The all-new Hyundai IONIQ 5 has stolen the show with more range, MUCH faster charging, and better looks. Although MSRP starts closer to $45,000, dealer markups make it hard to find one under $50,000. More on that below.
Polestar is the fully-electric brand backed by Volvo. This car looks unmistakably Nordic, yet not as minimalist as a Tesla. Pricing is right under $50k, but direct-to-consumer sales means no dealer markups.
Price (front-wheel drive): $49,800 with destination fees, but there’s no haggling with Polestar’s pricing
Range: 270 miles
Charging speed: 150 kilowatt max charging (adds 160 miles of range in 25 minutes)
Federal Tax Credit: In August of 2022, the new revisions to the EV tax credit took away this incentive from the Polestar 2. See full details here. State incentives may apply.
Did You Know? The Polestar 2 is the closest competitor in terms of size, price and specs to the Model 3 rear-wheel drive.
2023 Kia EV6 (base trim)
If you can go without the bells and whistles, a lower-trim EV6 brings ultra-fast charging and longer range to buyers willing to get close to $50,000.
Price: $41,400 – $56,400; Light and Wind trims are most likely to fall under $50k.
Range: 232 – 310 miles
Charging Speed: 235 kilowatt max at a DC fast charger (adds 200 miles of range in about 18 minutes)
Federal Tax Credit: In August of 2022, the new revisions to the EV tax credit took away this incentive from the EV6. See full details here. State incentives may apply.
Did You Know? The Kia EV6 is based on the same e-GMP electric platform as the Hyundai IONIQ 5. If the looks of the EV6 are too much for you, maybe the IONIQ 5 is up your alley. The EV6 comes with 1,000 kilowatt-hours of free charging at Electrify America. That’s about 15 charging sessions from 10% to 80%.
Until charging stations are commonplace, owning an electric vehicle will require more planning and preparation than one would expect for a day’s drive. Range is the new MPG, however real-world range isn’t easy to pin down. When the U.S. EPA provides official range ratings, the figures are based on vehicles driving in controlled environments on a predetermined track. EV ownership is full of nuances, and one of the greatest is the affect of weather on range. Let’s explore how electric vehicles perform in cold weather, hot weather, rain and wind.
Electric Vehicles in Cold Weather
Cold weather reduces EV range, but how much depends on how toasty you keep the cabin. Sub-freezing temperatures reduce range by between 12% and 30%, but that’s without the climate control on to warm the cabin. Data from AAA found that once the heater is turned on, EV range can drop by as much as 41%. Some real-world tests have found range losses closer to 50% with below-zero temperatures. That’s not good if you travel long distances across the northern states or the Interior West. More on specific impacts below.
Electric Vehicles in Hot Weather
Yes, hot weather does reduce EV range. According to research conducted by AAA, hot temperatures don’t have quite as great of an impact as cold temperatures, but it’s still noticeable. In temperatures of 95 degrees Fahrenheit and the air conditioning on, driving range decreases by 17% on average.
A 17% drop in range would mean that a Model Y normally rated for 330 miles on a charge would get closer to 273 miles. Not too big of a deal. For electric vehicles with less EPA-rated range, it matters more. The standard range 2022 Nissan Leaf normally gets 150 miles on a charge, but that would drop to 124 miles in 95-degree weather. Ouch.
Does Rain Affect EV Range?
Rain, snow and anything else falling from the sky does lower EV range. Why? It creates drag, and EV efficiency is all about aerodynamics. The heavier the rain, the greater the impact on range, even if temperatures are perfect for battery performance.
Speaking of which, what is the ideal temperature for electric vehicle battery performance? Geotab’s analysis of data from 4,200 EVs found that 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.5 Celsius) is ideal for battery performance. That’s not only perfect for maximum range, it’s great weather all around. Learn more in Geotab’s full report.
How Much Does Wind Impact EV Range?
Similarly, wind’s impacts on electric vehicle range have to do with drag. Drag is in essence aerodynamic friction. Your fancy new electric car can’t slide through the air so efficiently with friction working on it.
Wind can work against you or for you. With a steady tailwind pushing you along, it’s common to exceed range expectations even on the highway. When there’s a substantial headwind, range drops, and sometimes by quite a lot. The impacts of wind on EV range are much more noticeable at highway speeds. It’s possible to gain or lose up to 20% of expected range depending on wind direction.
Weather Impacts Depend on Model and Battery Chemistry
Temperature impacts battery performance differently depending on battery type and overall vehicle engineering. Features such as a heat pump, advanced battery preconditioning and even heated seats are just some of the many ways that engineers can do their best to optimize EV performance in suboptimal weather.
EV data specialists at Recurrent looked at data from all of the popular electric vehicle models. They found that EV range in hot and cold weather varies widely from one make and model to another.
Here’s how some of America’s most popular electric vehicles are affected by cold weather and summer heat.
Real-World Range (70 deg F)
Cold Weather Range Loss
335 miles (-5% from rated range)
323 miles (-2% from rated range)
380 miles (-6% from rated range)
326 miles (-7% from rated range)
198 miles (-35% from rated range)
171 miles (-34% from rated range)
205 miles (-9% from rated range)
240 miles (-7% from rated range)
206 miles (-7% from rated range)
For a full breakdown of Recurrent’s findings, check out their 2021 report here.
It’s Not Just EVs….
The U.S. Department of Energy says that vehicles powered by traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) also suffer efficiency losses as a result of hot and cold weather. ICE vehicles are especially impacted by hot weather due to air conditioning power requirements. The Department of Energy estimates that ICE vehicles lose about 25% of their typical fuel economy when operating with air conditioning on high settings.
One major difference between EVs and ICE vehicles is the affect of cold weather. Electric vehicles use quite a bit of energy to run the heater, whereas ICE vehicles redirect heat generated by the engine and therefore avoid significant effects on efficiency.
Although EV charging stations are becoming commonplace around major cities, many interstate highways have sparse charging infrastructure. Until charging stations are more reliable and easier to find, driving an EV in cold and hot weather will complicate EV ownership and delay EV adoption. A national charging network is on the way, and public fast-charging networks are growing quickly. With EV market share soaring every month, it’s imperative that we find solutions to this seasonal challenge that affects millions.
If you’re in the market for an affordable electric vehicle, you’ve likely already arrived at the realization that ‘affordable’ doesn’t mean cheap in 2022. In fact, our own CarEdge list of the best affordable electric cars features one car (the Tesla Model 3) that now starts just shy of $50,000. Are there any truly cheap electric cars available today? You may be surprised with what we found.
2022 Nissan LEAF
After earlier rumors suggested that the Nissan LEAF was to be discontinued, a Nissan executive recently stated that the LEAF is here to stay. That’s GREAT news for EV affordability.
We must point out that General Motors decided to slash the price of the LEAF’s competitor, the Chevy Bolt, to steal the title of ‘cheapest EV in America.’ More on that below.
Price: Starting at $27,400
Range: 150 to 226 miles, depending on battery size
Charging Speed: Either 50 kW or 100 kW speeds, depending on battery
Tesla is the face of electric cars today, but for years it was the Nissan Leaf at center stage. When Nissan brought the Leaf to market in 2010, it was a short-ranged novelty that somehow began to catch on. With just 73 miles of range on a good day, the first iteration of the Leaf was a bug-eyed appliance good for around town, but not much else.
Over a decade later, and the 2022 Nissan Leaf is a lot better than the first. However, it’s still a budget vehicle, and you get what you pay for. Still, it’s a great entry point into EVs for many. The Leaf now has enough range to make regional travel realistic, but charging speeds have unfortunately remained too slow to make it easy. If you’re eager to get into an electric car for under $30,000, you’ll surely want to check out the 2022 Nissan Leaf.
2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV – The Cheapest Electric Car
Price: Starting at $26,595
Range: 259 miles
Charging Speed: 55 kW speeds (adds 100 miles in 30 minutes of charging)
Tax Credit: The Bolt no longer qualifies for the federal EV tax credit, but state incentives may apply
The 2023 Chevy Bolt is the cheapest electric car today. It is available at dealers nationwide, as long as the mandatory recall fixes have been completed. See who has inventory at CarEdge Car Search: Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV
General Motors has sold over 100,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs since launching the subcompact crossover in 2016. In 2021, the Bolt gained a new sibling: the larger Bolt EUV. Shortly after the Bolt EUV joined the show, several Bolt battery fires spurred a very urgent recall into action. When all was said and done, battery supplier LG Chem was found to be responsible for the Bolt battery fires, and agreed to pay General Motors $2 billion in damages.
Fast forward to 2022, and most Chevrolet Bolt’s (all for sale) have received new battery packs. The Bolt is a GREAT deal now that it’s fixed. If you’re never in a rush on road trips (or just plan to use the car around town), the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt is worth a look. It charges painfully slow, but hey, it is the cheapest electric car today.
If you check out used Bolts, request official documentation showing that all recall work was completed. The Bolt will be eligible for the new EV tax credit here in the United States, but only after 1/1/2023. See our full guide to EV tax credits for more info.
2022 Hyundai Kona EV
Price: Starting at $34,000
Range: 258 miles
Charging Speed: 100 kW speeds (180 miles added in 47 minutes)
The 2022 Hyundai Kona EV is no Tesla, but it has decent range and room to fit most lifestyles. Plus, it’s really cheap AND still qualifies for the $7,500 federal tax credit.
For just $34,000 before incentives, you can become the owner of the original Hyundai EV. This front-wheel drive subcompact crossover gets 258 miles on the charge, exceptional range for a budget EV. Some owners get over 275 miles on a single charge. The Limited trim, top-of-the-line option comes in at $42,500.
If you plug in at home, charging to 100% from a 240-volt dryer outlet will only take you about 9 hours from 10% state of charge. That will get you a full battery overnight while you’re sleeping. At a fast charger, the Kona is behind the competition. In 47 minutes, the Kona Electric charges from 10% to 80% capacity.
The all-new Hyundai IONIQ 5 has stolen the show with more range, MUCH faster charging, and retro looks, but it starts closer to $45,000 with destination and availability is very limited. For those who are willing to give up a few luxuries, the Hyundai Kona EV is a solid choice.
2022 Kia Niro EV
Price: Starting at $39,990
Range: 239 miles
Charging Speed: 100 kW at a DC fast charger (adds 100 miles of range in about 30 minutes)
The Kia Niro electric version is the sibling to the aforementioned Hyundai Kona EV. Both source their power from a 64 kilowatt-hour battery, which is a tad smaller than more expensive electric cars. The Niro EV can charge at up to 100 kilowatt speeds at a fast charger. At least that’s better than the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Bolt.
The Niro EV’s back seat is slightly more spacious than the Kona’s, so it’s more popular with families and those with large pets. There’s also a plug-in hybrid version. For just a few thousand dollars more, keep in mind that you could check out the base trims of the newer Kia EV6, Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Volkswagen ID.4.
2022 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop Electric
Range: 114 miles
Charging Speed: 50 kW speeds (about 90 miles of range in 36 minutes)
For just over $30,000, you can own an electric Mini. It’s practically a luxury golf cart! Jokes aside, it’s not a bad deal IF you don’t plan to go very far. With 114 miles of EPA-rated range, it’s a zippy way to scoot around town.
Why didn’t I include Mazda’s first fully-electric vehicle on this list? It’s a brand-new model, yet it only gets 100 miles of range on a charge. That, and the fact that it is only sold in California as a regulatory compliance vehicle for now. Come on, Mazda! That’s not enough range to safely make it across Los Angeles!
An electric car under $35,000? Sounds like science fiction, but as you can see, a few can be had for what used to be considered average car prices. Most of these cheap electric cars don’t have the best range, the fastest charging or the need for speed, but they won’t drain the bank like a Tesla will. Let me know which cheap EVs you’re checking out in 2022.
Some parting advice: consider all options, and test drive as many electric vehicles as you can. You’ll be amazed at what’s out there, and even more amazed at what’s to come.
We recently shared five affordable electric cars to buy in 2022. “Affordable” only goes so far in today’s auto market, and not a single top pick lists for under $35,000. With battery and charging advancements around every corner, leasing is a great way to keep up with the pace of technology without having to purchase a new car. All things considered, these are the 5 best electric cars to lease in 2022.
Hyundai Kona EV
The often overlooked Hyundai Kona EV was the Korean automaker’s electric flagship years before the fancy new IONIQ 5 stole the show. When it comes down to numbers, the Kona EV is a great value. We featured it in our recent CarEdge list of the best affordable electric cars.
This front-wheel drive subcompact crossover gets 258 miles on the charge, exceptional range for a budget EV. Some owners get over 275 miles on a single charge. If you plug in at home, charging to 100% from a 240-volt dryer outlet will only take you about 9 hours from 10% state of charge. That will get you a full battery overnight while you’re sleeping. At a DC fast charger, the Kona is behind the competition. In 47 minutes, the Kona Electric charges from 10% to 80% capacity. For perspective, the new Hyundai IONIQ 5 can do the same in 18 minutes, but it costs nearly twice as much.
You can lease the Hyundai Kona EV for just $259 /mo with $3,699 due at lease signing for 36 months and 10,000 miles of driving allowance per year. If this is your price range, the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and the Kona’s cousin the e-Niro are the only other options. You can’t go wrong with the Kona at this price point.
Volvo XC40 Recharge
Volvo and sibling Polestar are ramping up their commitment to electrification. The Volvo XC40 Recharge (pure electric) has been the darling of auto reviewers time and time again. Test drivers share a common theme: the XC40 Recharge is a lot more fun to drive than they had expected.
It may look like a family car, but this electric Volvo can launch to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds as it puts down power via dual electric motors. With 223 miles of range on a charge and up to 150 kW charging speeds at a public fast charger, the XC40 Recharge is just about average for an electric car in 2022. It IS a solid road-tripper, unlike some other options on this list.
Infotainment runs on Google’s Android Auto operating system, much like the popular Polestar 2. An upscale cabin adorned with the elegant and dark-themed interior we’ve come to expect from Volvo features plenty of hidden storage and generous room in the back seat. This electric crossover feels a lot larger than it really is.
Leasing the XC40 Recharge is available for $540 a month with $3,500 down, and 10,000 miles of annual driving allowance. If you’re looking for a peppy electric crossover with a Scandinavian flair, Volvo’s XC40 Recharge just might be the one.
If you’re shopping on a tight budget, don’t overlook the original posterchild of EVs, the Nissan Leaf. A few years before Tesla’s sales ballooned into EV domination, the Leaf was leading electric car sales in America. Why did it fall out of favor? It looks like an appliance, drives like an appliance, can’t make it very far on a charge, and charges slower than most of the competition. But it’s cheap!
With those complaints aside, the Nissan Leaf is still a solid choice for a lease in 2022. We can only recommend the Leaf in the extended range, faster charging versions. That would be the Plus models, which are rated for up to 226 miles on a charge, and can charge at 100 kW charging speeds at a DC fast charger equipped with the CHAdeMO adapter.
The Leaf is not recommended for frequent long-distance travelers. It’s just too much of a pain to stop so frequently and charge for a whole hour once every 180 miles. But for everyone else, the Leaf is a great electric car for around town. Plus, it still qualifies for the EV tax credit.
As of April, the 2022 Nissan Leaf is available for $179 per month for 36 months with $4,179 due at signing. It’s important to note that Nissan keeps the EV tax credit when you lease a Leaf. Regardless, that’s as cheap as it gets to lease a new EV in 2022.
2023 Fisker Ocean (It’s Worth the Wait)
At a time when the average transaction price for a new car is approaching $50,000, a sub-$40,000 electric crossover sounds too good to be true. The Fisker Ocean introduces rare value in the crowded EV segment. We recently shared an in-depth review of the Fisker Ocean.
For just $379 per month, you can lease a Fisker Ocean SUV with the new Fisker Flexee Lease offer. Fisker says that they believe electric vehicles should be affordable to all, and this is how they’re going to try to get there.
With a Fisker Flexee Lease, there are no term limits and you can cancel at any time. It’s basically a long-term rental that appears to be worry-free. After twelve years of leased driving, Fisker will retire and recycle the electric SUV. The Fisker Flexee Lease requires an initial payment of $2,999, and it includes up to 30,000 miles per year. Maintenance is covered.
The Fisker Ocean will be available in very limited quantities late this year. It won’t be until 2023 or even 2024 that a Fisker lease will be easy to come by. Nevertheless, keep it on your radar!
Buying a car is tricky in today’s market, and even leasing can feel like three-dimensional chess these days. Although 2022 isn’t the best time in history to buy or lease a car, some shoppers don’t have a choice. It doesn’t help that the average new car payment is a bank-draining $650 a month in 2022. Fortunately, leasing provides a window of opportunity for those who don’t mind what is essentially a long-term rental. These are the best car lease deals in 2022. All examples assume a 5% down payment at signing.
The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the Mitsubishi Outlander sells for an average MSRP of $40,356 depending on the trim. If leasing is an option, you can get into this versatile SUV for $412 per month with an allowance of 12,000 miles a year. How does a plug-in hybrid work? The Outlander can drive 24 miles on pure electricity (which is much cheaper than gas), and then can drive another 300 miles as a regular hybrid system with the help of a combustion engine. It’s kind of the best of both worlds, especially for a lease.
2022 Hyundai Kona EV
The Kona EV made our CarEdge list of the five best electric cars you can get for under $50,000. The Hyundai Kona EV has an average MSRP of about $40,000, and you can lease one for just $401 a month. The Kona is a great alternative for those considering the Chevy Bolt. Plus, it comes with Hyundai’s unbeatable 10 year, 100,000 mile battery and electric powertrain warranty. This front-wheel drive subcompact crossover gets 258 miles on the charge, exceptional range for a budget EV. Some owners get over 275 miles on a single charge.
2022 Toyota Tundra 4WD
If you can find one that’s not marked up, the 2022 Toyota Tundra 4WD is $51,400 at MSRP. If you’re open to leasing, you can sign up for $525 a month for 36 months and 36,000 miles. That’s $125 less per month than today’s average monthly finance payment. The downside? The Tacoma gets 14 miles per gallon when gas prices are well over $4 per gallon.
2022 Toyota Tacoma
Last year, the Toyota Tacoma won Best Buy of the Year award from Kelly Blue Book in the mid-size truck category, and now you can lease a 2022 model for under $400 a month. If you buy, the 2022 Tacoma has an average MSRP of $36,300. If you lease, monthly payments are as low as $361.
2021 Honda Civic Type R
With an MSRP of $41,900, it’s a pleasant surprise that you can get into a Civic Type R lease for just $410 a month. Over 300 horsepower propels this budget racer to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. The challenge is finding one on a dealer lot.
2021 Chevrolet Bolt
Pre-facelift, the 2021 Chevy Bolt was the least ‘sexy’ electric vehicle on the market. It may look bland, have slow charging, and be subject to one of the most scrutinized recalls in recent memory, but you can lease one for cheap. The 2021 Chevrolet Bolt sells for $38,567 (average MSRP across trim levels), but you can lease one for $367.63 a month. Just make sure that you have proof from the dealer that your Bolt has already had the recall fix. Learn more about the Chevy Bolt recall and vehicle specs here.
2022 Chevrolet Bolt
The 2022 model year gets a refreshed, modernized front fascia and improved interior. Sadly, driving range figures for the 2022 year remain the same. At least it doesn’t look like a cheap appliance anymore. Here’s the great news: the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt has a lower MSRP than the 2021 model. GM electric vehicles no longer qualify for the federal EV tax credit, so GM must have felt compelled to keep pricing competitive. Whether you go for a 2021 or 2022 Bolt, ensure that the car has had all of the mandatory fire-related recall fixes completed.
The Bolt EUV is the slightly larger new sibling to the regular Chevy Bolt EV. The EUV sells for $36,245, but you can lease one for just $341 per month. Range is 247 miles, but charging isn’t that great. Learn more about the Bolt here.
2022 Kia Niro EV
The 2022 Kia Niro EV has an average MSRP of $43,500, but it can be all yours (for 36 months) for just $395 with a lease. There’s generous lease support for the Niro for a few reasons. The Kia Niro is about to receive a major upgrade in 2022, and it’s being overshadowed by the new Kia EV6 electric crossover. The Niro can make it 239 miles on a charge, and charging from 0-80% takes about one hour at a DC fast charger. However, if you plug it in at home, it should work just fine for those who drive less than 50 miles a day.
2021 BMW i3
Why is the 2021 BMW i3 such a phenomenal deal in 2022? It was recently discontinued, but it’s still a great option if you’re looking for an affordable, low-emissions way to get around town. Keep in mind that it’s no Tesla. The i3 gets 200 miles of range, 153 of which are on pure electricity. Not to be confused with the new BMW iX3, the 2021 i3 has an optional range extender (on the BMW i3 REX version). All trims considered, the 2021 BMW i3 has an average MSRP of $48,970 while supplies last.
If you’re looking for an all or mostly-electric bargain lease, you can lease the 2021 BMW i3 for $425/month. That’s well under the budget-friendly 10% threshold for a smart lease.
Have questions or comments about the best car lease deals in 2022? Or maybe you’d simply love to connect with fellow car buyers and auto enthusiasts? Check out the CarEdge Community at caredge.kinsta.cloud!